Good morning readers, writers, and random people that have come across my blog. I bring something special to you today! As you may have seen from my book reviews I have been reading a series by Jonas Lee. A fairly new indie author who, in my opinion, is a fantastic author.
Lucky for me, he hasn’t hit it big yet (YET! I know it’s coming) and he was kind enough to grant me a little interview. A small interview that ended up being more questions than I originally planned. What can I say, I am a nosy reader and love knowing everything I possibly can about the authors that I love. Also, as a writer, I love the insight from other authors that are were I would like to be one day.
If you would like to check out my reviews of Jonas Lee’s novels, you can check out “A Time to Reap” and “A Time to Live.”
Without further delay, here is the interview!
What Inspired the Carter Gabel story?
Carter Gabel’s story was originally inspired after reading The Time Traveler’s Wife. I just thought of what their child might be like. I wrote one chapter, sat it down for the better part of five years and didn’t touch it again until I started blogging. I planned to expand on that story as a token to readers and by the fifth chapter, I was already addicted to his story.
How many books will the Carter Gabel story be? Is it a trilogy or a series?
The Legend of Carter Gabel will have three books, two are already available and the third one is in development. I can say that I have dabbled into the idea of doing small novelettes from other characters perspectives. If anything I think they might get squished into their own book later or as a bonus in the boxed set.
How long did it take you to write “A Time to Reap”?
A Time to Reap really only took me a few weeks to write, but that is also spaced over a couple of months’ worth of free time, so three months?
After you finished writing the novel, how long did it take to polish and publish it?
After finishing the story, editing, re-editing, family/friends editing and finally professional editing took another couple of months. I started the series in April, finished writing by the first week in June and all the editing was done by first of August.
A lot of authors say that some of their characters take on characteristics of their selves. What character in the Carter Gabel series is more like you?
As an author, I try to pour out little portions of myself wherever I can. I guess the most I do, portion-wise, is through Carter. His sarcasm is mostly mine, acting before thinking is a trait of mine as well. Past those points, the rest of him is his own. His nuances develop with whichever scene comes at him.
Do you want to venture into other genres other than YA?
I love most genres as a writer. YA is a great genre to be in, but I see myself branching out into areas like supernatural, fantasy, steampunk, paranormal and maybe a dabble of horror. There are six other stories just waiting in the wings with these areas in mind. All of my stories have a combination of other genres, but as to which flavor will overpower the rest, stay tuned.
What Obstacles have you faced in your own writing journey?
I initially started out trying to find a literary agent, those people are finicky, lol. After that I went Indie and those are a different breed of obstacles because it is mainly whatever a writer puts in their own way (time, money, effort, etc.). Finding an audience that wants to latch on and follow me has been my thorn.
What do you dislike the most about being an indie author? Or, what is the hardest part of it?
Dislike most? The only thing I can say to that is not having a helping hand with marketing. All of my fans are organic at this point. Finding more people to follow me and stick with me, refer me to friends and help me promote is every Indie’s woe. Beyond that, I love it!
Where is your favorite place to write?
I don’t think I’ve acquired a “spot” yet. As long as I have some music and some solitude, I am a writing machine.
What was it like when your novel was edited for the first time by someone other than yourself? Was it painful to see suggestions to change certain aspects of your novel?
Oh, lord. That first sacrifice is the hardest. Going into writing, I thought I had a pretty firm grasp on getting ideas out onto the page. I knew that my grammar skills could use some work, but after that first professional edit, whoa. I felt like a person with no thumbs trying to pick up my dignity. In all, I was harsher toward myself than needed. It’s all learning about how to find your voice and make that voice reach everyone. Editing refines those rough edges, but watching all the red marks bleed across my first born was hard.
Do you plan on becoming a traditionally published author, or do you want to stay as an indie author?
Ideally, I’d love to remain Indie. My aspirations want me to see my books become movies one day though. So, to do that I need fans and fans of fans. Traditional publishing is bound to help me out with that so in the long term, I’d love to see my books in major stores with that kind of help.
What inspired you to start writing? At what point in your life did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Writing became a continuation of an active childhood imagination. I was horrid at reading, I could tackle maybe ten pages a day. If the book didn’t bore me, my mind would start reenacting the scenes and developing new ones. Pretty soon, I was constructing plots and dialog with my GI Joes and when I outgrew those, I began writing my thoughts down.
I think I knew I wanted to write in grade school, fantasized about writing in high school and throughout college. It wasn’t until I reached my thirties that I knew if I didn’t try I would always wonder. Not sure which point to pick, but there you have it.
What author inspires you the most in your own writing?
Strangely, I don’t think I have an inspiration in an author. Not that I don’t love what they do or write or how their words come alive. It’s just that I don’t ever get done reading and go, “I need to be more like that.” I have my own thoughts that may develop out of a scene, a phrase, a song or any one of a dozen mediums. So, I’d have to simultaneously say all of the authors I read and none of them, all the same.
If you could collaborate with any other writer, who would it be? What kind of story do you think would come of it?
As much as I would love to write with the likes of King or Rowling, I don’t think my writing would benefit in a story. I’d have to say that I would pick Joe Hill. I think we could write an epic tale stemming from light and dark characters together, weaving in some humor and some tears along the way. Like what he had started with the Locke & Key series he made, I would branch that out into a world more fantasy-based.
How has your family been when it comes to writing? Were they supportive? Did anyone doubt you could be an author? Did you have anyone that tried to bring you down?
My family has been great! Initially, there was some hesitation, mainly because it was moving very fast with little planning in place. So, naturally, spending a lot of money on something that seems like a hobby rather than a passion makes you catch your breath. After the first book, everyone in my family has been very supportive. My parents are constantly buying books to give to friends and anyone they think would like it. My wife brags me up as much as she can and my daughter likes pointing out that her dad wrote a book that’s in their school library.
I don’t think anyone doubted I could write, just didn’t know I could to begin with if anything. No one has brought me down except myself, lol, I can be rather judgmental on my own branding of success.
Was “A Time to Reap” the first novel you wrote, or do you have a few tucked away in a dark place?
A Time to Reap was my first published. I have another series that already has one complete book and two more started. There is a stand-alone novel that has a basic outline and my next series already is begging to be set loose, but I refuse until the last in the Carter Gabel series is pushed out of my noggin. Needless to say, I could write full-time if it only paid better than minimum wage in Romania.
What do you hope others take away from your stories?
In my stories, I truly hope they see what I am just realizing. It’s a 1st person POV, and it starts out as a teenager and with each book, he matures, the same way I hope my writing does. It’s meant to be fun and funny and breath-catching. Its crutch is time travel, powers and individuality, but beneath it, I tried to convey a realistic story. Who’re the good guys, who are the bad guys, why can’t anyone get it right, who do we trust? Coming out of the memory and perspective of a teenager going through the situations Carter is faced with, how would you react? I want people to have fun and be able to get through it and look back on when it started thinking, “I’ve got to re-read this again someday.”
Do you have any other hobbies other than writing?
I love movies; I could do movie marathons nearly every day! I dabble in gaming when I can. I love getting out and connecting with the outdoors through hiking, walking, and coaching my daughter’s softball. A rather new hobby of mine is restoring old furniture my wife and I find. I just have to be more diligent at completing it. She would appreciate that too.
Where do you hope your career will be in 10 years?
I Hope I’ve found my way onto a best seller’s list somewhere and that one of my stories is being considered for something in the entertainment world.
Do you have a dream office?
Dream office… A large oak slab with a leather captain’s chair with a large computer monitor and a coffee machine behind me. Speakers wired into the ceiling and a view looking at the pine trees resting in the Black Hills behind me sounds about right.
Is writing now your full time job?
Ha, no! I work full time doing the thing that pays the bills. I enjoy it to an extent, but if you give me the opportunity, I’d be writing all the time. You would need to dedicate a shelf to my books in no time.
Who is your favorite author to read?
A favorite,… that’s pretty hard. I love when Stephen King has a good book. I can’t say all of his are my favorite. I’ve really taken to Charlie N. Holmberg and her Paper Magician series. Nina Soden creates a great set of characters. I think if an author can have me want to come back and not stop reading, they fall into a favorite category.
They say that writers read (or should read) as much as they write. Do you find this true in your personal life?
I think reading, as an author, helps me out because I can get stuck using the same phrasing or words and seeing what other author are capable of doing shows me ways to expand outside of my own pattern. Plus, reading just unlocks imagination and who couldn’t use a little more of that? Also, knowing what kinds of work are out there, popular or being tried helps from a professional standpoint.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Any tips or tricks that you may have learned along the way?
Write what you would like to read. And when you’re not writing, look at what is out there in your genre. Get a feel for what book clubs, blogging sites and YouTube vlogs are doing. The bloggers push out a lot more notice than Twitter and Facebook do. Great writing will go unnoticed if you just leave it for others to pick up when they want. And don’t be afraid to fail. You are going to fail at least a couple of readers out there. Keep in mind some people in life don’t like chocolate, and attribute them to that category of person, then move on.
Thank you so much Jonas for allowing me to pick your brain!
There are many places you can find Jonas, but the easiest link to give you is to his personal blog where you can find other links to all his social media sites. I really think this is an author we need to watch, once everyone catches wind of him, he is going to be right up there with the greats.